Washington, Sept 28 (AP/UNB) — The U.S. economy grew at a robust annual rate of 4.2 percent in the second quarter, the best performance in nearly four years, though economists believe growth has slowed in the current quarter partly because of a drag from trade.
The performance of the gross domestic product, the country's total output of goods and services, was unchanged from an estimate the Commerce Department made last month, the government reported Thursday.
The strong GDP performance has been cited by Trump as proof that his economic program is working.
"We're doing much better than anybody thought possible," Trump said at a Wednesday news conference.
However, a big part of that growth reflected a temporary rush to ship soybeans and other U.S. exports out before penalty tariffs triggered by Trump's get-tough trade policies took effect.
Economists believe growth has slowed in the current quarter to between 3 percent and 3.5 percent, still a solid pace. While trade boosted GDP by 1.2 percentage point in the second quarter, due to a surge in exports, it is expected to trim growth by around 1 percentage point in the third quarter. Some of that weakness may be offset by businesses rebuilding their inventories at a stronger pace.
"Growth still looks quite strong," Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, said in describing the revised GDP report for the second quarter. He said he was forecasting third and fourth quarter growth at around 3 percent "before momentum starts to fade in 2019."
A 3 percent growth average in the second half of this year would leave the annual growth in 2018 at 3 percent. That would be the best performance since 2005, three years before the 2008 financial crisis pushed the country into the worst recession since the 1930s.
The country is currently in the 10th year of an economic expansion, the second longest in history. But growth has averaged a lackluster 2.2 percent, making this the weakest recovery in the post-World War II period.
Trump often noted that performance when he campaigned for president, blaming the weakness on Obama administration economic policies. He pushed a $1.5 trillion tax cut through Congress last December and has emphasized deregulation and vowed tougher enforcement of trade agreements as ways to boost growth.
The administration is projecting growth will return to sustained rates of 3 percent or better over the next decade. However, others disagree with that assessment, forecasting growth will slow sharply in coming years as the impact of the tax cuts and increased government spending this year begin to fade. There is also an expectation that rising interest rates from the Federal Reserve will temper growth.
The Fed pushed its key policy rate up for an eighth time on Wednesday to a new range of 2 percent to 2.25 percent.
As he has done recently, Trump criticized that move, but Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday that outside criticism would have no impact on the Fed's efforts to follow its mandate of promoting maximum employment and stable prices.
The Fed indicated that it planned to stick with its plan to raise rates one more time this year and another three times in 2019.
The government's third and final look at second quarter GDP showed only minor and off-setting changes. Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, was unchanged at a solid growth rate of 3.8 percent. Business investment grew at a strong 8.7 percent rate, up slightly from last month's estimate of an 8.5 percent growth rate.
Dhaka, Sept 27 (UNB) - Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited organised a daylong conference on ‘Enhancing Capacity in Trade Finance’ on Thursday at Islami Bank Tower.
Md Mahbub ul Alam, Managing Director & CEO of the bank, addressed the conference as chief guest.
Mohammed Monirul Moula, Additional Managing Director; Abu Reza Md Yeahia, Taher Ahmed Chowdhury, JQM Habibullah, Muhammad Qaisar Ali and Hasne Alam, Deputy Managing Directors; Md Abdul Jabbar and Taher Ahmed, Senior Executive Vice Presidents of the bank, addressed different sessions of the conference.
Foreign Exchange In-charge of 59 Authorised Dealer (AD) branches and Head of Offshore Banking Units (OBU) attended the daylong conference.
Dhaka, Sep 27 (UNB)- Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited held a day-long conference on enhancing capacity in trade finance at Islami Bank Tower on Thursday.
Md Mahbub ul Alam, Managing Director and CEO of the Bank addressed the conference as chief guest.
Mohammed Monirul Moula, Additional Managing Director, Abu Reza Md Yeahia, Taher Ahmed Chowdhury, JQM Habibullah, FCS, Muhammad Qaisar Ali and Hasne Alam, Deputy Managing Directors, Md Abdul Jabbar and Taher Ahmed, Senior Executive Vice Presidents of the Bank addressed different sessions of the conference.
Foreign Exchange in-charge of 59 Authorised Dealer (AD) branches and Head of Offshore Banking Units (OBU) attended the conference.
Dhaka, Sept 27 (UNB) – Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister AKM Shahjahan Kamal on Thursday said the government has been working sincerely to turn Bangladesh as one of the attractive tourism destinations of the world by utilizing its potential and natural beauty.
He said the government has taken a mega plan to boost the tourism sector with higher presence of domestic and international tourists.
The Tourism Minister was addressing a rally at TSC intersection in Dhaka University campus marking the World Tourism Day 2018.
The colorful rally started from Matsya Bhaban intersection at 8:30 am and ended at TSC intersection in Dhaka University campus.
DU Vice Chancellor Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman, Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary M Mahibul Haque, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation Chairman Akhtaruzzaman Khan Kabir and DU Tourism and Hospitality Management Department Chairman Dr Md Bodruzzaman Bhuiyan, among others, spoke at the rally highlighting the importance of the day.
Members of the Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh, Aviation and Tourism Journalists’ Forum of Bangladesh (ATJFB), a platform of journalists covering aviation and tourism affairs, Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB), Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation and other stakeholders took part in the rally.
The government and different organisations have chalked out various programmes to celebrate the day.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages marking the day.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on governments to support digital technologies that can transform the way people travel, reduce the ecological burden of tourism and bring the benefits of tourism to all.
“Digital technologies have brought a positive momentum to societies and economies around the world. They’ve connected us on a global level, helped to empower the most vulnerable and become our crucial allies for sustainable development,” he said in a message marking the World Tourism Day that falls on September 27.
This year’s theme for the day is ‘Tourism and the digital transformation’.
The UN chief said the wide reach of tourism into many sectors, from infrastructure and energy to transport and sanitation, and its huge impact on job creation, make it a vital contributor to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“At the same time, tourism plays a pivotal role in advancing the cultural understanding and bringing people together,” he said.
Yet tourism, Guterres said needs innovation in technology to realise its potential contributions.
“Its benefits need to flow to host communities. Governments can help connect startups with investors to facilitate innovation, entrepreneurship, employment and a truly inclusive tourism sector,” he added.
The UN chief said, “Our challenge is to continue harnessing this power for good while safeguarding against the risks.”
Meanwhile, Rabindra Sarobar in Dhanmondi, one of the capital’s popular cultural venues, wore a colourful look as three-day tourism festival “Biman Tourism Fest 2018” will begin on Thursday afternoon.
The theme of the festival is “Tourism and the Digital Transformation”.
ATJFB with the administrative support of BTB will host the festival.
Different organizations will display various tourism related products and activities at the venue from 10 am to 7 pm every day.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister AKM Shahjahan Kamal will inaugurate the festival as the chief guest at 3 pm. Social Welfare Minister Rashed Khan Menon will attend the closing session on September 29.
A discussion on the tourism master plan centring the Sundarbans will be held on the second day of the fest on September 28.
Experts and different stakeholders of the tourism industry will take part in the discussion where Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary Md Mohibul Haque will attend as the chief guest.
On each day of the carnival, a cultural show will be staged where popular folk bands, bauls and other traditional solo singers will be performing.
Besides, tribal and traditional dance performances are also included in the festival itinerary.
The festival is sponsored by the national flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines as the title sponsor and powered by US-Bangla Airlines.
NOVOAIR, Rangdhanu Group, Regent Airways and Way Dhaka joined as co-sponsors while Well Food and DBC became food and media partners respectively.
Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC), Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB) and Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB) also joined hands as strategic partners of the fest.
Buenos Aires, Sep 27 (AP/UNB) — The International Monetary Fund agreed Wednesday to increase a lending package with Argentina by $7.1 billion to a total of $57.1 billion, seeking to calm markets over the country's ability to meet its debt amid growing economic turmoil.
Argentina had secured $50 billion in financing as part of a deal worked out with the IMF in June after South America's second-largest economy was battered by a run on the Argentine peso amid double-digit inflation.
IMF Director Christine Lagarde said Wednesday that Argentina's central bank has agreed as part of the deal to intervene in currency markets only in case of extreme circumstances and that the new amount will help Argentina's government face its challenges.
"The Central Bank of Argentina has decided to adopt a floating exchange rate regime without intervention," Lagarde said at a joint news conference with Argentine Economy Minister Nicolas Dujovne in New York.
"In the event of extreme overshooting of the exchange rate, the (bank) may conduct limited intervention in foreign exchange markets to prevent disorderly market conditions."
Argentine Central Bank Chief Guido Sandleris later told reporters that under the revised deal, the central bank initially will intervene only by selling $150 million worth of pesos a day when the currency drops below 34 pesos or rises above 44 pesos per U.S. dollar.
"This will allow us to reduce inflation and recover the stability and predictability in prices that Argentina so badly needs," said Sandleris, who was named to the job Tuesday after Luis Caputo surprisingly resigned.
The new deal will also speed up disbursements to $13.4 billion from $6 billion previously agreed for this year and to $22.8 billion from $11.4 billion previously approved for 2019.
Argentina has been badly hit by a severe drought that has damaged crop yields in the world's third-largest exporter of soybean and corn. The situation worsened beginning in the first quarter of 2018 as world oil prices rose and then interest rate hikes in the United States led investors to pull dollars out of Argentina.
That caused panic among Argentines, who have stashed away dollars as a cushion since the country's worst crisis in 2001 when banks froze deposits and the currency tumbled.
The rush to buy dollars led the peso's value to collapse. Despite several interest rate hikes by the Central Bank, the peso has lost more than half its value this year, making it one of the world's worst performing currencies.
Following the run on the peso, President Mauricio Macri began pushing for early IMF disbursements under a revised deal. He aimed to restore investor confidence and ease concerns that Argentina will not be able to meet its debt obligations next year.
Consumer prices are rising at an estimated annual rate of about 40 percent. Many Argentines joined in a nationwide strike Tuesday to protest Macri's handling of the economic crisis and his decision to turn to the IMF for help.
Most Argentines blame the international lending institution for encouraging policies that led to the country's economic implosion in 2001. It resulted in one of every five Argentines being unemployed and millions sliding into poverty.
The IMF has admitted it made a string of mistakes that contributed to the economic implosion. A 2004 report by the IMF's internal audit unit concluded it failed to provide enough oversight and overestimated growth and the success of economic reforms, while it continued to lend Argentina money when its debt burden had turned unsustainable.
Without further IMF support, the government was forced to declare a record $100 billion sovereign debt default.